When Norms Loom Larger than the Self: Susceptibility of Preference-Choice Consistency to Normative Influence Across Cultures Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (forthcoming)
The present research investigated a novel account of how normative influence varies across culture—whether there exist cultural differences in the motivation to adhere to social norms even when similar norms are prevalent across cultures. Experiment 1 established that both Americans and Indians perceived that most others would disapprove of individuals who made choices primarily based on their own preferences compared to individuals who also took other factors into consideration. Experiments 2 and 3 found that when either general normative concerns or specific norms were highlighted, Indians’ preference-choice consistency shifted whereas Americans’ did not. Experiment 4 demonstrated that motivating people to act counter-normatively (rather than normatively) increased Indians’ preference-choice consistency but had no influence on Americans’. The findings indicate that even when the norm content does not differ across cultures, people from a more interdependent culture are more susceptible to normative influence than people from a more independent culture.